Netflix’s latest Original movie To The Bone tackles the issue of eating disorders, reminiscent of the way its recent smash series 13 Reasons Why honed in on teenage bullying.
I’m a big believer in body positivity because of its mental health benefits. While I don’t believe people should just accept being obese, because that comes with its own health issues, I do believe people shouldn’t be made to feel bad about themselves because they don’t look like the perfect people plastered all over magazine covers and TV. The pressure to look “perfect” can cause some people to compromise their own health to reach for an unrealistic goal, leading to conditions like anorexia and bulimia.
It’s a real world issue also fueled by marketing forces that constantly bombard people with messages to make them question their self-worth by showing them a photoshopped ideal they can never live up to, and then offer to “fix” their “problems” if they buy this amazing product. I’m sure they phrase it differently, but the result is the same. Order now and get a free set of cake forks, because we want repeat customers. Anyway, that’s my brief rant for the day.
The official plot synopsis is as follows:
Ellen is an unruly, 20-year-old anorexic girl who spent the better part of her teenage years being shepherded through various recovery programs, only to find herself several pounds lighter every time. Determined to find a solution, her dysfunctional family agrees to send her to a group home for youths, which is led by a non-traditional doctor.
Surprised by the unusual rules—and charmed by her fellow patients—Ellen has to discover for herself how to confront her addiction and attempt self-acceptance, in order to stand a chance against her demons.
Let’s take a look:
To be honest I thought To The Bone would look a lot like the aforementioned 13 Reasons Why, but after watching the trailer I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. While the movie might be about young adults, it’s doesn’t look like a movie in the young adult genre – which if it were in this instance, and given the topic, would’ve celebrated and wallowed in self-indulgent, self-pitying bulls**t. This movie seems to avoid that awful approach to such a serious issue by also providing light and hope.
Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones) looks like she delivers a nuanced performance as Ellen, whose eating disorder is (I assume) a result of some personal trauma and not a desire to have a certain appearance. I hope she didn’t go to the extremes Christian Bale did to look emaciated in The Machinist. It’s also really nice to see Keanu Reeves in a movie where he’s not mass-murdering his way through problems.
All-in-all To The Bone is probably quite predictable plot-wise, but that’s not really a problem – we watch movies for the journey, not the destination. Judging by the trailer it looks like a solid movie with good performances – aided by sharp scripting – that’s tackling some serious issues, while displaying a sense of humour and promising a happy ending.
What do you think?
To The Bone is due to go live on Netflix on 14 July. Written and directed by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, UnREAL), it stars Lily Collins, Keanu Reeves, Carrie Preston and Lili Taylor.
Last Updated: June 21, 2017